Analysis of the Report of the Secretary-General on Syria (January 2018)


The report of the Secretary-General provides an update on the security and humanitarian situation in Syria pursuant to resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2258 (2015), 2332 (2016) and 2393 (2017), in which the Council requested that the Secretary-General provide a report on the situation every 30 days.

The report focuses on escalations of military operations, particularly in Eastern Ghutah, Idlib, and Hama. [1]S/2018/60, box 1, point 2 & 4 It also mentions civilian deaths and injuries due to landmines and unexploded ordnance in the areas controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL). [2]S/2018/60, para 5 It acknowledges the deteriorating situation in hard-to-get and besieged areas and explains administrative obstacles that prevent much needed humanitarian assistance from entering critical areas. [3]S/2018/60, box 2, point 2 The Secretary-General gives an update on the peace process and expresses his disappointment regarding the failure of the eighth round of Geneva talks, and his hope for a step forward in Astana talks. [4]S/2018/60, para 4 He also cites several local reconciliations agreements that occurred in several parts in Syria, which are mainly between Syrian authorities and non-state Syrian armed groups. [5]S/2018/60, paras 5, 7, 8

Similar to previous reports on Syria, the report fails to include substantial references to the women, peace and security (WPS) agenda. Although women are mentioned twice in the report, the Secretary-General does not emphasize the need for protection or the importance of women’s participation. The report refers to women in the context of illustrative examples, however, some sex and age-disaggregated data is provided in the annex of the report. Negatively, no gender analysis accompanies the inclusion of data. Overall, the report fails to apply a gender lens and ignores the importance of considering how women are affected by the deteriorating humanitarian situation and does not provide information on the impact of armed conflict on women and girls.

Analysis by Issue Area

Humanitarian Assistance and Displacement

There are two references to issues of WPS in regards to humanitarian assistance. First, the Secretary-General reports on United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) screening of pregnant and lactating women with children for acute malnutrition. [6]S/2018/60, para. 32 Second, the Secretary-General reports on the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) delivery of reproductive services and efforts to address gender-based violence (GBV). Nevertheless, the report contains no details or analysis as to women’s involvement or participation. [7]S/2018/60, para. 32

The report misses several opportunities to integrate a gender lens in humanitarian assistance. First, the report does not specify non-discriminate and comprehensive health services, including sexual and reproductive health, psychosocial, legal, and livelihood support, falling short of provisions in resolution 2242 (2015). [8]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 16 Second, aid agencies continue undertaking needs assessments, however, the report provides no indication of women’s participation or the integration of women’s concerns in the design or implementation pursuant to resolutions 2242 (2015), 2106 (2013) and 1888 (2009). [9]S/RES/2242 (2015), OP. 16, S/RES/2106 (2013), OP. 11, S/RES/1888 (2009), OP. 13 Further, the report only broadly references displacement, without acknowledging the gender dynamics and gendered impacts of displacement pursuant to resolution 2122 (2013). [10]S/RES/2122 (2013), PP

Human Rights

When considering the severe security situation for civilians due to the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, the report misses an opportunity to integrate gender analysis in its discussion of human rights violations, including a discussion of the multiple impacts of violence on women and girls pursuant to 2122 (2013). [11]S/RES/2122 (2013), OP. 1, OP. 2 Positively, in the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) annex on “Incidents affecting civilians”, sex and age-disaggregated data on human rights violations against women and girls is included reflective of presidential statement 21 (2014). [12]S/PRST/2014/21, para. 10

Peace Processes

The Secretary-General expresses disappointment regarding the eighth round of Geneva Peace Talks, while also expressing hope that the Astana Talks will pave a way towards a political solution. [13]S/2018/60, para 4 The Secretary-General also references several local reconciliation agreements between Syrian authorities and non-state opposition armed groups. Negatively, the Secretary-General fails to report on or call for women’s and women’s organizations’ participation in formal processes and local initiatives pursuant to resolution 2122 (2013). [14]S/RES/2122 (2013 ), OP. 1 & Inside Syria: What Local Actors Are Doing For Peace … Continue reading